Staff Reviews

A Tattooed Nation

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About 25 percent of Americans sport tattoos, according to the American Society of Dermatological Surgery, and that percentage is rising sharply. In Tattoo Machine (Spiegel & Grau), Jeff Johnson gives a salty tour of the shops that nervous mothers once forbade their sons and daughters to visit. As the co-owner of the Sea Tramp Tattoo Company in Portland, Oregon, Johnson has an up-close perspective on skin art and the entertaining people who crave it.

There's the homesick Lone Star State GI who drew a copy of his state's flag from memory for the artist to place on his skin, then returned shouting, "This ain't the flag of Texas!" Musing on dozens of cases of tattoos gone wrong, Johnson notes, "It's amazing how many people can't spell their spouse's name."

Tattoo Machine helps explain why permanent ink is on the rise. We live in an age in which we increasingly personalize our clothes, our coffee drinks, our Web browsers. Why not our very bodies?

NEXT: Full Service

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  1. Tattoos are a form of expressing oneself. Just make sure you get a piece that you will love!

  2. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets.

  3. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets.

  4. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books.

  5. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that!

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